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Don’t Get Confused: These Office 365 Capabilities Sound Like Backup, But Aren’t

Aug 17, 2021, 16:50 PM by Nick Natale

We’ve pointed out previously on the KeepItSafe blog that Microsoft does not back up Office 365 users’ data. Unfortunately, many IT teams simply assume that backup will be included in a cloud solution as widely used as Office 365, from a company as trusted as Microsoft. And as you can imagine, some of those companies discover the truth in the worst possible way. 

But let’s say you’re more diligent than those IT teams, and you investigate Office 365’s capabilities looking for backup. You could still understandably come to the mistaken conclusion that Microsoft offers this service. After all, several of the suite’s tools sound like they’d include backup.

At the end of this post, we’ll discuss how you can add true backup and recovery to your Microsoft Office 365 environment. First, though, let’s look at a few examples of why a diligent IT professional could be misled into thinking it’s already part of Office 365.


1. Data loss prevention

Data loss prevention (DLP) sure sounds like it could include data backup. And if you interpret DLP in the broadest possible sense, it can. But that’s neither its focus nor its priority.

DLP is a set of processes aimed at protecting a company’s sensitive information from unauthorised access and from being shared with third parties who shouldn’t see it. That’s why DLP is also called data leak protection. Common tactics in a DLP program include data encryption, monitoring, and access controls.

In other words, you can implement a viable data loss protection strategy with no backup component. Case in point: Office 365.

If you read Microsoft’s main page on data loss prevention, you’ll find the company’s tips and best practices for rolling out a DLP plan for your Office 365 data. You’ll also find references to Microsoft’s DLP tools, which are part of the Office 365 Compliance suite. But one concept you won’t find anywhere on the page? Data backup.  


2. Data archiving

Another service Microsoft provides for Office 365 users is data archiving. But, again, don’t assume this means Microsoft is providing your company a backup solution. It doesn’t, and they aren’t. 

It’s worth taking a moment to review the difference between data backup and archiving. Backup refers to creating, storing, and maintaining quick access to copies of your data—particularly data your staff is actively using. You’ll turn to a backup system, not archiving, 

if an on-prem server fails and your employees need immediate access to databases, files, and other content to keep operations running smoothly.

Archiving, by contrast, refers to creating a copy of data for long-term retention. Businesses often use this strategy for record-keeping and regulatory purposes. But the key attribute of archived data is that it remains static and unchanged.

Indeed, on the Office 365 archive features page, Microsoft discusses the uses of these tools for compliance, legal holds, eDiscovery, and retention. But Microsoft does not once refer to its archiving as a “backup” solution.


3. Data Retention

Here’s yet another Office 365 toolset that an IT department could understandably assume Microsoft will use to back up the company’s data in Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams. But again, this is not the case.

Microsoft touts its data retention features as helping businesses keep—and delete—content based on their internal governance rules, industry requirements, and the law. Office 365’s retention features page explains, for example, that a business can set rules to retain certain content for several years to meet legal requirements, as well as set rules to permanently delete sensitive content as soon as the law allows.

But setting a rule to retain certain emails for 5 years in your Office 365 environment 

does not mean Microsoft will create additional, geographically redundant copies of those emails. 

In fact, if you’re relying solely on Microsoft’s native data retention tools for your Office 365 data—particularly if you need to keep that content for legal reasons—you are in even greater need of a true data backup solution.

And as you’ve already guessed, the word backup does not appear once on the Office 365 retention page.

The solution: a true Office 365 backup and recovery partner

Even if you deploy all these tools Microsoft makes available, you won’t have a true data backup and recovery solution for your company’s Office 365 environment. The fact is Microsoft leaves that responsibility to customers.

But there’s an easy solution: Implement a proven Office 365 backup solution from a trusted third party.

The solution: Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365, which is protecting nearly 10 million corporate users’ data in Exchange, Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive.

The partner: KeepItSafe—one of very few cloud providers in the world to have earned Global Veeam Platinum Partner status, and an Office 365 backup expert currently overseeing thousands of Veeam environments around the world.


Schedule your Office 365 backup consultation

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